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Monday, May 11, 2009

balm of gilead

Simply put, yesterday seemed like a disaster - in fact it felt the way most Monday mornings feel.

I have never loved waking up early on Monday mornings. I even wrote a poem in high school titled, "I Hate Mondays" - but that's for later. Last Monday when I wrote my post "My Letter to the One" and today are the rare exceptions. Like McDonald's new little ditty, I can say, "I'm Lovin' It!" but alas, I digress... YESTERDAY!

As the Elder's Quorum Music Coordinator I have been leading music during the priesthood hour of church. Our men proved that they can sing well a capella because we have no piano in our meeting room. So, I was asked to form an Elder's Quorum choir that would perform a capella in sacrament meeting.

I don't read music, I only play it. I can sing but I have to hear the notes to do so. I am usually frustrated because I am not a choir director. Half the time I lead, I am off by a few beats. I just stand there to serve as the guy who starts everyone else off on the wrong note and then continues to lead everyone singing off-beat, but who else will do it?

Yesterday we were all to meet early to run through our parts - especially because we were going to sing a capella. Maybe 1/3 of our guys were there, which in our ward is ten. Well, a few reluctant singers and a frustrated director who doesn't know what to do, doesn't make for great music. We ran out of time to practice and I ran out of patience - I left the building to let off some hot steam.

I don't like to feel anxious or humiliated because of my inability to do what people expect me to do. I was so angry and almost felt disrespected and betrayed - I just wanted to give up.

I decided that I didn't want to give up on these guys even if I felt I was being failed. I would be a hypocrite if I failed those who at least showed up and tried their best. After all, these men aren't trained singers just like I'm no trained choir director. We ended singing the hymn, "I Need Thee Every Hour" even if I failed to utter such a prayer out loud - I know others prayed for me and us on our behalf. Though it wasn't a capella - it was beautiful.

Unfortunately, this didn't stop me from being frustrated and bitter the rest of the day. There are so many things on my mind right now. When I wrote that it might be hard to express my joy about being undetectable I was really saying, "Great! I'm undetectable, but what about all my other problems?" Needless to say my attitude hasn't been so pleasant lately, regardless of the good news that I've received; news that many like me wish they too would receive. I am blessed; I have it good, even if I don't deserve it.

After church I decided to go to Ward Choir practice, even though I really just wanted to sulk. The hymn we are preparing to perform is a beautiful rendition of, "Did You Think to Pray?" I really enjoyed singing that yesterday and surprisingly I really have my part down pretty well. Then I went home and eventually fell asleep after watching a six hour movie whose theme had a lot to do with healing and the Fountain of Bethesda among other things.

This morning I woke up and began to start my day. The usual Monday morning routine includes showering with anxiety, putting on some guilt and despair and heating up some leftover anger to eat. I guess this morning started differently. I took out my medication, a slice of bread and some water - sort of like my own sacrament between me and the Lord. As I sat down to take my meds, eat, drink and prepare to be merry - I noticed something I noticed at least five months ago.

Truvada is one of the medicines I take and it comes in the form of a large blue pill. On one side is imprinted a word, in fact the name of the manufacturing science lab, Gilead. For some reason this got me singing, "Did You Think to Pray?" and specifically the third verse:

"When sore trials came upon you
Did you think to pray?
When your soul was filled with sorrow,
Balm of Gilead did you borrow
At the gates of day?

Oh, how praying rests the weary!
Prayer will change the night to day.
So, when life gets dark and dreary,
Don't forget to pray."

It struck me like a bug strikes a Mac truck's windshield! Here I was looking down at this word Gilead on a pill that has prolonged my life singing, "Did You Think to Pray?" I was holding my own Balm of Gilead and it's more than just a pill - it's God, His endless blessings, my life, everything! If anyone in the world needed to borrow the Balm of Gilead at the gates of day - more so on Monday mornings - it has to include me. As part of my daily ranting, raving and pleadings to the myself and to anyone listening I say, "I Need Thee Every Hour" but "Did I Think to Pray?" What a wake up call.

Speaking of wake up calls - it's maybe no coincidence then that Gilead literally means heap of testimony or mass of witness. So, Balm of Gilead could really be translated to mean - healing witness.

I can testify to you that the Balm of Gilead is not only a healing resin for our temporal wounds. It also includes revelatory witness and testimony of the very Atonement of Jesus Christ that allows us to be healed spiritually.

"For as the body without the spirit is dead..."
~ James 2:26

To answer the age-old question from Jeremiah 8:22, "Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?" I gladly reply - YES - we can find the Balm of Gilead in prayer, in humility, in patience and in healing our body and our spirits through cleansing and sanctification.

"O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me...I cried unto thee, O Lord; and unto the Lord I made supplication...Hear, O Lord, and have mercy upon me: Lord, be thou my helper. Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing...and girded me with gladness; to the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever."
~Psalm 30

There is one physician in Gilead who can heal all things sick, mend all things torn, fix all things broken and make all things whole again. It is He, our Savior Jesus Christ. He called me to prayer this morning and I was reminded that there is hope - there is love - there is God.

"...weeping may endure the night, but joy cometh in the morning."
~Psalm 30:5

You have been caught Jey Walking! (sometimes kneeling to pray, too)


Bravone said...

Jey, I had a similar Sunday, or at least it started off that way. Today is another day, and I appreciate you good reminder.

Take care my friend,

Ned said...

Dear Heavenly Father, I'm grateful for the blessings of this Tuesday morning. That I am alive and well. That my loved ones are safe and healthy. That I have a job, and school this summer, and that the sunshine is beaming through the kitchen window. That Christ created and is in that beam. Please bless our little planet this day. Bless me that I might find joy and be helpful. Help us to see the big picture and to enjoy small moments. Please bless Jey and all my blogging buddies and their loved ones. Help us to have faith and hope, to grow and learn and do. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

jey walker gladstone said...

thanks Ned and Steve for your kind words, thoughts and prayers. they are needed and appreciated.

Ashley-Michele said...

Hi Jeffrey,

So after you accepted my invite, I came here. I learned some things that I never knew (HIV). You have a talent with words. I LOVE the one about Grandma, which you posted a year ago. I can not believe it has been 2 years since she passed! I will be checking in to see how you are. I am SO jealous of you being in NYC. That city has my heart and soul. My daughter misses it to. One day we will be back! I lived between NYC and NJ for 15 years. My husband is from NJ. My blog is It is private. If you want I can add you.

Michele E Vierkant-Csapo

jey walker gladstone said...

Thanks Michelle,

I do love NYC - I have found out a lot about myself here. I now know how strong I really am; resilient and courageous. This is not a place to be weak - but for me it has been a place of understanding and growth. It's just what I needed right now in my life. Too bad you're not here.

You will have to send me an invite to your blog to